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The most surprising 2022 free agency moves so far

From the Rudy Gobert trade to Jalen Brunson's big pay day, here are six of the most under-the-radar moves in the offseason so far.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

The 2022 NBA offseason has been interesting, to say the least. The free-agency period began even before it was supposed to when Kevin Durant reportedly requested to depart from Brooklyn. Since then, the storylines in the league have been all about Durant and the Nets, but that's not to say there weren't a few deals here and there that could potentially move the needle for multiple teams involved.

Here are 6 of the most surprising and monumental free agency moves so far.

Rudy Gobert traded to Minnesota Timberwolves

This deal probably pissed off many executives (more on that later) in the league. But yes, the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year awardee now finds himself in a new home alongside Karl Anthony Towns, newly acquired Kyle Anderson, D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and company. The Timberwolves, who gave up Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, and five (!!) first-round picks, are betting on their new core to take the franchise to new heights it's never seen before.

The Utah Jazz management, led by Danny Ainge, did their job negotiating the best package for Gobert. However, this is terrible news for the rest of the league, especially teams that want to execute trades from here on. The Gobert trade set the standard for trade negotiations and packages, which many teams (like the Nets, for example) will follow.

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Dejounte Murray and San Antonio Spurs divorce

This summer, the Spurs have made it clear that they're heading for a rebuild by trading their best player in his apex value and recouping a ton of draft picks. Murray's departure was a shock for many just because the Spurs weren't clear about what they planned to do heading into the offseason.

The Atlanta Hawks finally found their next All-Star to pair with their rising franchise superstar in Trae Young. It only took a massive package of Danilo Gallinari, three future first-round picks, and a future first-round pick swap to form what is now one of the deadliest backcourts in the league.

The Warriors losing key role players

After celebrating their championships days prior, Golden State losing its key players was another shocking development in free agency. They lost Gary Payton II to the Portland Trail Blazers, Otto Porter Jr. to the Toronto Raptors, and Nemanja Bjelica, who decided to pursue basketball in Turkey. It's hard to retain a championship team, especially since the Warriors are already way over the luxury tax. But losing Payton II and Porter Jr. could prove costly for Golden State next season.

Boston gets better

The most significant move the Boston Celtics made in the offseason so far was to answer the missing piece it needed last season. Boston acquired Malcolm Brogdon, who will help with the team's ball movement, already disciplined defense, shooting, and playmaking. The best part? The Celtics only had to give up a 2023 first-round pick, Daniel Theis, and Aaron Nesmith.

As always, what are the New York Knicks doing?

Days before the free agency period, the Knicks strongly made it known that they aimed to pry Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks needed to address their lead guard depth to help orchestrate the offense and for scoring production purposes hence why they offered Brunson a 4-year $104 million deal. The Knicks clearly believe in Brunson way more than the world does, and we'll see if that pays dividends for them.

The Beard makes a sacrifice

Almost everyone predicted that James Harden would opt-in his $47.3 million contract. But the Beard had other plans, and surprisingly it's for the benefit of his team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Multiple reports indicate that Harden opt-out of his contract to take less money for the Sixers and add more pieces to boost their roster.

Harden's sacrifice worked wonders for Philadelphia as they acquired PJ Tucker, Danuel House Jr., and De'Anthony Melton. Alas, Harden finally contributes something monumental to his team. 

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